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Lakeland Mental Health Counselor Arrested
Lakeland Mental Health Counselor Arrested

On September 12, 2016, the Lakeland Police Department began to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct by psychotherapist, Anthony H. Conti, Jr. Conti is a licensed Mental Health Counselor at Tony Conti, M.A. Counseling Center, located at 1962 E. Edgewood Drive in Lakeland. Two victims have come forward with similar reports of improper sexual contact and “groping” by Mr. Conti during recent sessions. Conti had advised both victims that he could perform eastern medicine therapy that included intimate hands on touching.

Both victims have provided sworn statements of being inappropriately touched even after telling Conti they were not comfortable with his practices. On September 27,2016, the victims worked with undercover detectives and made contact with Conti. During this visit, the victim asked Conti about him touching her during the previous therapy session. Conti advised he does this because he is trying to restart the body and help relieve depression.

Anthony H. Conti, Jr. was placed under arrest shortly after the session and charged with:
2 counts of Psychotherapist Engaging in Sex with Client, Felony 2.

Conti was later transported to the Polk County Jail. The investigation is ongoing with the Special Victims Unit and the State Attorney's Office 10th Judicial Circuit, who assisted in the investigation.

The Lakeland Police Department believes there could be more potential victims. Anyone with additional information is encouraged to come forward and speak with a detective by calling 863.834.8977. All victim’s identities will remain confidential as protected by Florida State Law.

Wanted Suspect BRIAN BENDER Arrested

On August 22, at around 3:00 p.m., BRIAN BENDER, who was wanted for Aggravated Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer, Domestic Violence Aggravated Battery and Domestic Violence Simple Battery was arrested by members of our Street Crimes Unit.

Bender had fled from law enforcement officers on August 12th, and managed to get away that night. Yesterday, his luck ran out and he was was spotted in the 2400 block of Chestnut Woods Drive. Once again he fled on foot but this time he was shot with a taser which stopped him in his tracks. Bender was taken into custody and he also had a heroin on him. Tonight, he will be sleeping in the Polk County Jail.

UPDATE – Press Conference on Homicide Case

A press conference will be held at the Lakeland Police Department on August 19th at 11:00 a.m. in the 3rd floor conference room. Members of the Violent Crimes Unit will be present, along with family members of the victim Jonathan “Jay” Charles-Pierre, to speak to the media. Charles-Pierre, age 35, was shot to death inside the residence of 940 Castle way on July 25th. Please keep in mind that this is still very much an active criminal investigation and we will be limited as to what information we can release.

Crime Stoppers has authorized a reward of $8000.00 for information that leads to an arrest in this case. 

Homicide Investigation

LAKELAND, FL (July 26, 2016) – The Lakeland Police department responded to a report of a shooting at 940 Castle Way at 10:55 p.m. on Monday, July 25, 2016. Officers found Johnathan “Jay” Charles-Pierre, age 35, deceased inside the residence with a gunshot wound to the chest.

A witness at the residence reported that the suspect, a black male of unknown age, knocked on the door, pointed a handgun at him and demanded that he call the victim to the door. The victim came to the door with a handgun, but was shot by the suspect. The suspect fled the scene and continued to fire several more rounds before jumping into a vehicle with possibly two other males inside. The vehicle has been described as a green, with four doors and folded temporary attached. No one else was injured during the incident.

The investigation is ongoing. Detectives are on scene today with members from the State Attorney’s Office canvassing the neighborhood and interviewing witnesses. If you have any information regarding this case, please call Detective Stacey Pough at 863.834.8978 or if you wish to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1.800.226.8477.

Victim:  Johnathan “Jay” Charles-Pierre

Age:  35

Address:  940 Castle Way

Media inquiries should be directed to 863.583.2357

Two Fatalities in Memorial Boulevard Accident

Two Fatalities in Memorial Boulevard Accident

The Lakeland Police department responded to a traffic accident with multiple injuries and two fatalities on August 7, 2016 at approximately 12:18 p.m. According to reports, Alexas A. Moore, age 20, was traveling westbound on US 92 West with passenger Armani T. Evans, age 22, in a 2000 Chevrolet Cavalier. At the same time a 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, driven by Charles R. Harrelson, age 68, was traveling eastbound with two passengers; Rita E. Harrelson, age 67 and Blannie Denmark age 86. As the vehicles were approaching each other, the Chevrolet left its lane of travel, crossed over the raised concrete median and into the path of the Jeep. The Jeep impacted passenger side of the Chevrolet causing the car to flip and both the driver and passenger were ejected.

Alexas A. Moore, driver of the Chevrolet and Blannie Denmark, female rear passenger in the Jeep, were pronounced dead at the scene by medical personnel. Armani Evans, Rita E. Harrelson and Charles Harrelson were all transported to Lakeland Regional Health as trauma alerts. Next of kin has been notified.

The roadway was closed for approximately at five and a half hours. At this time, no charges have been filed and the case is currently under investigation by the Traffic Homicide unit.

Chevrolet Cavalier Vehicle Occupants
Driver - Alexas A. Moore (Deceased)

Passenger - Armani T. Evans

Jeep Grand Cherokee Vehicle Occupants
Driver - Charles R. Harrelson

Front Passenger - Rita E. Harrelson

Rear Passenger - Blannie Denmark (Deceased)

Please keep the all of those involved and their families in your thoughts and prayers.